Sunday, 2 September 2007

Baby Names

Before finally settling on his final seven names the following were considered by Walt Disney as names for his dwarves - Biggo-Ego; Blabby; Crabby; Cranky; Dippy; Dumpy; Flabby; Gabby; Gloomy; Graceful; Hungry; Jumpy; Lazy; puffy; Sappy; Shifty; Sneezy-Wheezey; Soulful; Tearful; Weepy; Wistful; and Woeful.

To someone of my generation, almost as funny as some of these names are the names which comprise the top 100 given by people to their babies in the UK and US at the moment.

With boys’ names the Americans seem to have gone very Biblical. The top ten are Jacob, Michael, Joshua, Matthew, Ethan, Andrew, Daniel, Anthony, Christopher, and Joseph. And they even have Angel as 32 in the boys’ names... In the girls’ names no 32 is Destiny whilst Morgan (which I thought was a boy’s name) is 33.

Most spectacular is Navaeh which was non-existent in 1999 – actually that is not quite true there were eight of them that year. It was given by pop singer Sonny Sandoval to his daughter in 2000 (being Heaven spelled backwards) and the whole of the US followed suit. Perhaps Lamb of God would have been more appropriate with sheep like that for parents. Hard luck on the half dozen parents who previously had used it because “It sounded original!”.

And where did the popularity of the name Aaliyah come from? Presumably as a result of the death in a plane crash of the pop singer of that name in 2001. By contrast the name Buddy dropped 44 places to no 478 in the 1960s after Buddy Holly died in 1959 – an interesting comment on the different perceptions of death perhaps. In the 1960s it would have been considered unlucky to use the name of a dead person whereas nowadays there is a tendency to commemorate their life.

And in the UK the name Niamh is presumably after the legendary Irish Niamh of the Golden Hair – I wonder how many dark-haired girls are going to bear this name when their baby hair changes! And if you are going to base the child’s name on a baby feature why don’t the lists feature Colic, Weep, Howl, Scream, Spew, Poop, and Smell? (It is also unfortunate that Niamh is an acronym for the Northern Ireland Association for Mental Health).

Worst of all in the modern name list is the resurrection of the oldies Molly and Martha - surely not something to be glad about! Just don’t bring back Edna please...

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